Immunity is the prominent quality within the body itself to create resistance against disease causing organisms or substances. Immunity provides defense against pathogens like bacteria, protozoan’s, fungi, virus and parasites. This character also identifies and eliminates tumors and harmful foreign compounds.
Thus it provides balanced state of body with adequate biological defense against infection and acquires sufficient tolerance.
The immune system which provides protection from various infectious agents and cancer comprises highly arranged group of organs, tissues, specialized cells and cell products which work in coordination, to furnish the required immunity to the body.
The immunity is also denoted as impunity, amnesty, indemnity, exemption and exoneration, whereas, incarceration, susceptibility and vulnerability suggests failure of immunity. This scientific study of protection against diseases is termed as immunology. The word of ‘Immunity’ is derived from Latin language as ‘Immunis’ which means exemption from military service, tax payment or other public service.
The inborn property of resistance to infection, that involves either to prevent the entry of harmful foreign agents into the body or quickly kill the pathogens. The physical barriers include, Skin that avoids the input of bacteria and virus;
Mucous membrane in the lining of throat and trachea that provides protection from microbes and dust particles; the acid in stomach kills many microorganisms; the bile from liver that prevents the growth of microbes; cerumen or earwax traps dust particles, repels insects and kills bacteria; lyso-zymes in sweat, tears and urine attack harmful microbes; interferon from certain cells become resistant to virus; bicarbonates in saliva neutralize acids in food; fever due to certain infections also acts as natural defense.
The most types of white blood cells and macrophages from tissues are very important and blissful aspects of natural self defense. Another, component system is present in the form of about 30 serum proteins helping in the production of antibodies.
Acquired Immunity or Adaptive Immunity
This resistance or safety is obtained during lifetime. It has the properties of specificity, diversity (identify vast variety of foreign molecules), differentiation of self, non-self and memory (the second encounter being faster). Two major groups of cells participate in acquired immunity:
A healthy person has about one trillion lymphocytes as T-cells and B-cells. All the types of cells for immunity are produced from the stem cells of bone marrow.
The T- cells, first enter thymus and then return to blood. Helper T-cells are most numerous which stimulate the B-cells to produce antibodies and motivate killer T- cells to destroy the non-self cells. The Suppressor T-cells prevent attack on personal body cells. The Memory T-cells keep ready to attack as soon as the same disease causing organisms infect the body again.
The B-cells mature in the bone marrow and produce special proteins called antibodies. These cells give rise to plasma cells which live for a few days but produce enormous antibodies and memory cells having long life span but get activated by antigens.
Antigen presenting cells
These include blood macrophages and tissue macrophages or histocytes. These cells help to deliver the stimulatory signal required for activation of T-cells.
It relates to the reactions induced in the host through the stimulus of antigens. It has two types:
- Humoral Immunity or Antibody-mediated Immunity (AMI): It consists of the antibodies (produced by B-cells stimulated by helper T-cells) which circulate through body fluids. These defend against virus and bacteria but do not respond to transplant.
- Cell Mediated Immunity (CMI): It consists of lymphocytes which attack the antigens to produce antibodies. It can react against transplants and can protect the body against all types of pathogens including fungi and microbes.
Vicious Cycle in Kids
The children can suffer from more infections since their immunity is still in the growing stage. Low immunity and frequent infections have a long term harmful impact on their physical growth, mental situations and development.
The major reasons include, reduced nutritional intake during days of illness, infection of diarrhea can cause harmful in brain development and reduce intelligence, decrease the rate of digestion and absorption, shorter height, disturb breathing and blood circulation.
The eminent causes for lowering immunity can be pollution, food adulterations, intake of junk food and problems in daily health care.
Problems in Old Age
Elderly persons are more likely to suffer from infectious diseases and may die poor resistance. Respiratory infections, influenza, cardio-vascular problems, weak digestion and particularly pneumonia can lead to death over 65 years.
Gradual lowering of immunity is due to decrease in T-cells (decline in thymus functions), stem cells in bone marrow become less efficient, vaccine and antibiotics also become less effective. Autoimmune becomes low which can also decrease allergy, arthritis, inflammations and cancers. Certain other reasons of mental stress can be malnutrition, disturbed management of income and relations in families.
Methods to Improve Immunity
The immune system functions better when protected from adversity of environment but boosted with good living strategies:
- Get sufficient rest through sleep– People can manage stress. Mental pressure increases the secretion of cortisol hormone that suppresses immune system.
- Avoid tobacco smoke and use of intoxicants.
- Do not drink alcohol—Wine increases lung infection, heart and kidney problem, brain damage and stomach ulcer.
- Eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, nuts, bean seeds, pulses and curd which provide righteous nutrients for immune system. Citrus fruits with vit. C; spinach, broccoli, ginger, garlic, gourd, pumpkin, mushroom with vitamin B-complex and fibers; papaya, apple, peach, melon, coconut, almond and walnut with multivitamins and minerals. The anti-oxidants from plum, orange, black berry, garlic, cardamom, artichoke, cinnamon, sacred basil, asafetida, carom, Aloe vera and pepper are anti-inflammatory and prevent cancer.
- Perform habitual exercise— Regular ‘yoga’ exercise act as pillars of healthy living, it controls muscular strength, blood pressure and protects against variety of diseases. However, intensive exercise in athletes may disturb immune system.
- Maintain healthy body weight— Avoid obesity and weakness in body organs. Control upon intake white sugar and salt. Focus on healthy fats. Eat anti-inflammatory diet.
- Keep up with your vaccination.
- Relax and enjoy proper season—Beware of very hot, cold and rainy weather. Take a part of sunlight in winter to cherish with vitamin-D.
- Retain cleanliness of your body and clothing.
- Get regular medical screening test through eminent pathological laboratories.
Become efficient to develop good habits, strong character and virtuous qualities of humanity. Never stop taking the responsibilities of own wellbeing.
Immunity through Coordination of Body and Soul
Every Person should be conscious for personal health. Improvement of environment opposes toxicity of nature and prevents diseases. This becomes very beneficial and confers eternal advantages. The generative material, regulatory substances and energy for sustaining life are produced and utilized within living cells.
But most religions believe that overall regulation is governed through super natural Divine Power.
Each one of us exists to carry a special mission to seek spiritual elevation and salvation. Acquire virtuous qualities of humility, contentment, courage, respect for all religions, positive thinking, kindness, forgiveness and tolerance.
Try to become master of your action plan with skill and innovative spirit. Choose the religious path after analysis of proper thoughts. We must continue to rise and attain to the Divine, so as to understand the purpose and meaning of life.
Every hour of vigorous physical and spiritual activity will not only add years to life but also add life to years.
Innate Immunity is the efficiency of self defense blessed through the sole creator, Almighty Lord. We must convey our heartfelt, spiritual gratitude for His kind benevolence through prayers and meditation. This will motivate us to make attempts for better acquired immunity.
Dr. TRILOKI NATH CHUGH INSAN, Dera Sacha Sauda, Sirsa